Kickstarter, GoFundMe, and other online “crowdsourcing” sites have been used to fund everything from inventions to charities to movies. It must be something about the unique way that creators take their pitch directly to “the people” that’s so enticing. But it doesn’t work as a fundraising tool for everybody — sometimes not even famous people can launch a successful online crowdfunding effort.
Lots of recent TV show revivals have been big hits, such as Will & Grace, Twin Peaks, and The X-Files. One show that won’t be coming back: Good Times, the Norman Lear ‘70s hit about a working class African-American family. To use cast member Jimmy Walker’s catchphrase, a Good Times revival seems like it would be”Dyn-o-mite!” But when Walker, along with original cast members such as John Amos, Ja’Net DuBois, and Ralph Carter got together in 2016 to pitch a full-length reunion movie, it wasn’t such good times. The project racked up an inexplicably low $8,700 out of the requested $1 million.
Creed was one of the biggest bands on the planet in the very early 2000s…and then the world moved on from their spiritually-influenced hard rock and the band split up. Most of the group moved on to a new band called Alter Bridge while lead singer Scott Stapp pursued a solo career. In 2014, he used a service called Fundly to generate the cash he needed to make an album and publish a novel. He aimed for nearly half a million dollars…and took in about 500 bucks.
Darci’s Walk of Shame
In 2013, former teen start Melissa Joan Hart attempted a career overhaul and image reboot. She was (and still is) best known for her TV work — she starred on kid-oriented ‘90s sitcoms Clarissa Explains It All and Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and more recently acted on the ABC Family hit Melissa and Joey (alongside fellow ‘90s teen idol Joey Lawrence). But she wanted to do something different, and went for it with a raunchy romantic comedy called Darci’s Walk of Shame. Apparently, Hart’s fans wanted to see their star stick to the sitcoms, because her Kickstarter raised just $51,000 out of a required $2 million.
Zosia Mamet is one of the top young actors working in TV — she had a recurring role on Mad Men and played Shoshanna on HBO’s recently ended Girls. She’s also a musician, having formed a folk duo with her sister, Clara, called the Cabin Sisters. She aimed to raise a relatively modest $32,000 on Kickstarter to film a video for the song “Bleak Love.” When it was all over, only 80 people in all chipped in for a grand total of $2,783.
Darryl McDaniels (aka DMC from Run-DMC)
If the name Darryl McDaniels doesn’t ring a bell, his stage name probably does: He’s DMC of the legendary rap group Run-DMC. In addition to being one of the all-time greatest MCs, he’s also a budding comic book artist. In 2013, he set out to accumulate $100,000 from Kickstarter patrons to start his own comic book publishing company, Darryl Makes Comics, which would publish a 64-page graphic novel called DMC. He only wound up pulling in $5,537.